Saints, Cigars and Passion

a concert performance for piano, mezzo soprano and story

The idea behind Saints, Cigars and Passion originates in two song cycles: “Cinco Canciones Negras” (1945) by the Catalan composer Xavier Montsalvatge (1912 – 2002) and “Hermit Songs” (1953) by the American composer Samuel Barber (1910 – 1981). A story inspired by the contents of these songs weaves the different musical pieces together into a coherent and mystical journey throughout two different milieus: Early 20th Century Cuba and 10th Century Ireland.

Saints, Cigars and Passion tells the tale of two people, a young Catholic monk in Kildare Monastery in Ireland (year 900) and an Afro-Cuban girl practicing Santería in early 20th Century Cuba. Though separated by a thousand years, their lives are tied together by longing, taboos and the fiery saint St. Brigit. Their story illuminates both Afro-Cuban culture/religion and medieaval monastery life, as well as touching upon true universal motifs and emotions. Saints, Cigars and Passion is an organic blend of classical music, dreamlike storytelling, flawed love, intoxicating spirituality and the kind brutality of life.

Performers: Tangent
( Piano: Margrete Moen Birkedal Mezzo soprano: Eva B. Landro Storyteller: Torgrim Mellum Stene )
Director: Hogne Moe Script: Torgrim Mellum Stene Costume design: Mette Skogbakken

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